IDS Gaffs Again!

I have come to conclusion that Ian Duncan Smith is not in touch with reality, or, at least, he looks at the most outrageous examples of reality he can find and assumes them to be the rule rather than the exception. He has demonstrated time and again that he knows nothing about how the benefit system really works nor what the vast majority of people receiving benefits are like (indeed, he seems not to grasp that many people on benefits are actually in work, not unemployed or disabled).

His latest silly comment is to proclaim in all seriousness that parents do not deserve higher benefits because they will just drink and dope it all away. Now, there are many cogent arguments why benefits should be cut or restricted in order to prevent dependency, make work pay, etc, but claiming that every parent who receives benefits is an alcoholic or drug addict is not one. It is, frankly, offensive! As I’ve blogged before and doubtless will blog again, the average person on benefits is no different, no better nor any worse than anyone else. Being on benefits isn’t an ideal situation, but it is not a moral malaise, nor is it the province of workshy wasters who spend their days in a drunken stupor, high on drugs. Many people who receive benefits are actually working and receiving a top-up due to their low wages. The vast majority of those on disability benefits are genuine. Most of those who are unemployed are looking for work and frequently give back to their community through voluntary work or are busy on government-mandated work programmes. Although overly-generous benefits coupled with all-too-high taxation can make it difficult for some people to get out of the benefits trap, nobody asked to be caught in the trap and all but a very few would be glad to escape it.

Rather than proving just how out-of-touch he is, Ian Duncan Smith should set about ensuring that the benefits system works properly and that his employees are helping to get the unemployed into work, rather than dossing about doing nothing as is all-too-often the case…

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